24 And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, for which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.
Laban kicked the brothers out the first time they asked for the plates, likely because of the possession factor. Giving them up meant he no longer had power in that situation which means less power when people are searching for more. We can suppose that is true since when they DID bring something he still kicked out the brothers but had something to show for it as well. From what we see here we can suppose Laban had no thought about the plates. He could care less about them really. He had them. They were locked up. And to get to them people would have to go through him and that's POWER! That was his rush--POWER!
With more money comes more POWER! And as Puffy once said, "mo' problems" too! And this is no different in Laban's case. The plates were of infinite worth to Lehi, to Nephi and most importantly to God. Since it was apparent Laban wasn't for them, any of them, then he was against them and he would have to be eliminated. He was the middle man and he would have to go. I got it!
Now how does this relate to me? Well... my great frustration is that most every time I speak with people about community development and the plans I have their big question is about money. "How are you going to finance it?" "Where's the money coming from?" etc. And these are the people who call themselves "believers". "Believers in what?" is my question.
Nowhere in the scriptures does God ever need money. He requires an offering and a tithe because PEOPLE believe they need money. When they show their obedience by giving up the money, He shows them HIS ability to take care of them. Isn't that what Lehi did? Except Lehi was beyond tithing. He was living the law of consecration. He gave up everything except what the Lord told him to keep. It seems this has been my journey too.
I didn't expect to be writing about this but it's also a reflection of my walk: giving up everything and/or having everything taken from me. Learning not to lust and covet money but rely on God to provide me with His wealth. Moving forward it seems I will have to minimize my frustration with people who say they believe in God but need money first. That's one of the reasons why I got pissed with H**** when we were talking because he wasn't really interested in keeping a gratitude journal to then met with me about how to earn money BUT he was interested if I could give him the money. D*** was the same way!
"Great plan..." he admitted. BUT because I never had a chance to show him the way to earn money and he wouldn't take the time to see for himself he wouldn't believe. Instead he goes back to be with his family and comes up with his own two year plan to earn money to "help me"! You are a man! I don't need YOUR plan when I've got God's. He wasn't helping me. Not when I'm on God's timetable and He's saying MOVE. And he's not helping me because he is only trying to provide wealth for himself when my objective is for people to work together to provide wealth for each other. Not only that but he conjured up HIS own scheme...that's not God's!
These men are my Laban's for two reasons. 1) Lusting after money and 2) casting me out because I don't have it. In my case, I didn't flee. They did. They just cast me out of their lives and that's OK by me. You will be back, one way or another. It's that simple. All in God's good time.
I've been struggling with this money issue for so long it seems. The challenging part...or the reason why it's so challenging is because of what the church, the Christian religion as a whole, has taught about tithing. Tithing is not about money. It never has been, at least not entirely. That corrupt teaching is making my job extremely hard and is polluting Father's house because people have hearts far from God but have money for the collection plate or tithing envelope. They think this is acceptable before God and it's not! God doesn't need money, He needs disciples. This reminds me of Elder Holland's Conference talk in October 2012 called "The First Great Commandment".
After Peter rushes from the sea after the nets fill with fish, Elder Holland speculates what Jesus must have said to Peter as he breathlessly reached Him. Among the thoughts Elder Holland expresses, one is "Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish?" Is it not the same with money? When the Lord needed to pay Caesar's tax He opened the mouth of a fish and took out a coin. Caesar got paid. And Jesus didn't even have a job! Anyways...the money focus can be so frustrating. If it is for me, how much more so is it for God? I get it! WOW! This is not where I expected this to take me today but I'm grateful for all I've learned. I'm focusing on my faith: my faith to endure, my faith to overcome, my faith to lead, and my faith to follow. I give praise. Thank You Father. Let's do this!
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.